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Highly Skilled Stay at Home


Professional mobility in Europe is falling well short of expectations, says a new report.

The Lisbon Strategy initiated in 2000 set the objective of the European Union (EU) becoming the most dynamic and competitive market in the world by 2010. In this world employers would be able to plug skills gaps at competitive costs due to the increased mobility of skilled workers.

But, with the exception of the Nordic countries, Ireland and the UK, mobility of professionals remains disappointingly low, according to Managing Mobility Matters 2006, by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

Only a third of the 445 employers surveyed across 14 countries received applications for senior management, professional and skilled manual positions from other EU countries in 2006, amounting to just 5% of all applications.

Barriers to mobility include language, differences in tax systems, healthcare, benefits, the lack of EU-wide integrated employment legislation, and patchy cross-border recognition of professional qualifications, the report says.

Practical issues such as work and careers for spouses, the availability of housing and schools, and being cut off from family and friends are at least as significant are also said to be discouraging potential candidates from taking jobs in foreign countries.

The report, partially funded by the European Commission, follows up a previous study published by PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2001.

Kevin Delany, partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, said: “In 2001, organisations expected people to move increasingly to countries where their skills were in high demand. But in the absence of high levels of professional mobility we can also expect some companies to continue moving operations to where the right people are, through outsourcing and offshoring programmes.”


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